As investigations into Trump’s misdeeds mount- we are up to 17 investigations into his organizations, his family, and his business interests with Russians with more coming- there is growing evidence that is already known to the public that reveals Trump’s impeachable offenses. More will be coming soon. Right now, TODAY, have enough known evidence in the public space that would be grounds for impeachment. The SDNY revelations about his criminal enterprise to catch and kill stories about his sexual escapades so he could win the presidency fulfill the Constitutional requirement of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The evidence supports two felony counts. And I think felonies should count when considering if a president is impeachable. Today there is breaking news about his corrupt use of his so-called charitable Foundation to supply himself with goodies for his own personal use. He used it as a slush fund. The NY AGs Office has referred the case for criminal review based on probable tax evasion. In addition there appears to have been a bribe paid from that fund to Pam Bondi, the former Florida AG, to drop the Trump University fraud case. Trump is a one man crime wave.
Impeachment is a matter of political will, however. The will is missing.
We know it is not there for Republicans. At least not yet. The proof is that the Republican Congress has rolled over and played dead for the past two years when it came to investigating this corrupt, criminal man. Republicans have retreated to the land of make believe, pretending Trump is fine. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. That unwillingness to uncover the truth and desire to protect Trump motivated Devin Nunes’s bizarre actions as head of the House Intelligence Committee to shield Trump, and Mitch McConnell’s strange blindness to the possible danger facing the continuation of the Mueller investigation. They are not the only Republicans who have been enabling or ignoring Trump’s corruption and lies. The Senate, it is said, will not impeach Trump if he holds tight to his core base of rabid right-wing supporters who terrify and pussy whip the GOP.
James Comey spoke out Monday after another session on Capitol Hill with the Republican led House Intel committee going on and on about Hillary Clinton’s emails, for crying out loud! Comey called on Republicans to do the right thing, to care about the actions of the president, care about their country, care about the law, and about the truth. “Stand up and speak the truth!” he said. But will Republicans listen to him?
We are also hearing that the will might not there for impeachment with the Dems either. Their reasoning is political and differs from the Republicans. The Dems (Nancy Pelosi in particular) want what Vanity Fair’s recent commentary calls a “slow burn” instead of an impeachment showdown.
What would that slow burn be all about?
Continuing exposure and revelation of Trump’s wrongdoings and lies, it is thought, would be the best way to forever tarnish the Republican Party and Trump without riling up his base or jacking up Trump’s favorable too much. The lesson learned from Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the House but the lack of will in the Senate to expel him from office, is that supporters get invigorated when their man is being attacked. That is the last thing the Dems want, an invigorated Trump base. Instead, they want that slow burn, that continuing exposure of corruptness, that stench of wrongdoing to linger on and on and on. Republican commentators are writing about how impeachment will damage not Trump but the Dems.
Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker of the House. Pelosi rules with an iron hand. She manages that with a combination of savvy, firmness, and willingness to make deals from a position of power. As long as she is in charge, the marching orders will come from her on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi has said she will not pursue impeachment unless the votes for expulsion are there in the Senate. She understands the political danger of inflaming Trump’s base and the GOP voters who already see him as a victim, a man who is being mistreated and unfairly maligned. She thinks that the political danger currently outweighs the benefits of having an impeachment proceeding that will potentially arouse passionate support for him.
There is one big UNLESS.
What is that?
UNLESS at least twenty Republicans in the Senate are eventually willing to expel. And even then, impeachment per se will not happen, apparently. What will happen instead is that Trump will get “The Talk”. As with Nixon, the people Trump listens to, the straggling remnants of the Trump whisperers, will slip into the White House to have a conversation with him and convince him his time is up. They will offer him a deal he can’t refuse that will include pardons for himself and his family in exchange for leaving office.
Will this even work?
One problem with this idea is that Trump is not like Nixon. Trump doesn’t have very many people he listens to anymore if he ever did. And if these folks tell him his time is up, will Trump believe it since he lives in a bubble, a conspiracy-saturated version of reality, that consists of himself, his cronies and his cult45 followers? Would he choose to stay on as president no matter what, hunkering down in the White House, a man under siege like Hitler in the bunker at the end of World War II?
Meanwhile, the forest is going to burn on and on. Trump and everyone he associated with and many of the people THEY associated with, will be exposed as criminal and corrupt. The investigations will churn along. The House will have open hearings for the public to learn the scuzzy details of Trump’s wrongdoings. More people close to Trump will decide to cooperate, spill the beans, and tell investigators the ugly truth. Eventually we will learn the details about his money laundering with Russia to save his brand from his cratering bankruptcies and how that led to being played by Putin, promised a Trump Tower Moscow, with a shared goal of winning the presidency, eliminating sanctions (so Trump could get the money promised from a Russian bank under sanctions by the US) and defeating their common enemy, Hillary Clinton.
Most of us are already sick and tired of hearing about mob boss, Donald Trump, 24/7, but we are going to have to hear more and wonder why and how he can get away with all of it. Drip. Drip. Drip. We are going to get more illiberal policies and humanitarian travesties at the southern border. More people will be fired or exit the White House leaving nothing but babbling idiots and mean-spirited fools running our government.
But does this really have to go on for two more miserable years? Trying to look on the bright side, by the time this is over, Trump will have ruined his brand forever and will take the Republican Party down with him. The NRA will possibly go belly up after Maria Butina’s cooperation torches that group and a bunch of prominent Republican conservatives along with it. The truth is going to come out like pus from a wound. Not pretty but we will learn a lot. And more and more people will be ready to throw these bums out in 2020.
Even today, 62% of Americans say Trump is not telling the truth. 55% of Americans support House oversight of Trump. The most recent Fox News poll shows Trump under water with 52% disapproving and 42% strongly disapproving of him. 67% of Americans say Trump puts his personal business interests ahead of the American people. 55% would vote for someone else if the election were held today. That was the Fox News poll. In the most recent NBC poll, 46% believe Trump has engaged in wrongdoing with Russia. 48% of Americans want the Dems to take the lead in setting policy. 56% approve of Robert Mueller. These numbers will get worse for Trump as investigations continue to expose the truth about him, his family, and associates.
But the bad news is that we will have to put up with so much more damage. It pains me to think about all the damage that is being done while we wait to get rid of Trump. And for those who think Pence would be worse than Trump, just remember that Pence does not have a crazy cult base holding Republicans hostage to his will the way Trump does. Pence is not going to destroy our democracy the way Trump does. Pence is not as crazy paranoid as Trump is. And Pence is not in as deep with the Russians as Trump is.
Maybe I am a worrier but I have another concern. Is Pelosi even right? Is her political calculation correct? Her strategy may be viewed by history as a miscalculation if we learn, as I think we will, that Trump engaged in a conspiracy with Russia to win the presidency. How will that look in the rear-view mirror of history if we do not act to impeach the president Putin handpicked and promoted to win? Pelosi’s willingness to let Trump malinger on in the presidency has to be based on a calculation she is making that Trump is not all that dangerous. She seems to think he is a buffoon. But even buffoons can feel desperate when cornered and this one has all the levers of the most powerful person in the world at his disposal. I even worry that he and Putin might have something up their sleeves to keep him in the White House. They seem to have acted in concert to get him elected and Russia continues to help him using social media. What if they plan to act in concert to keep him in power?
There is a new report about the extent of the Russian social media attack on our country. It was far greater than originally thought and every aspect of it was designed to get Trump elected and Hillary defeated. This was a massive cyber-attack on us, on our democracy. The attack did not end once Trump was elected. It has continued on with recent social media attacks on Robert Mueller. Much of the Russian agenda closely dovetails with Trump’s agenda, which is cultural divisiveness, attacks on the press, and a war on minorities to suppress the vote and discourage people about our country and our democracy. Even the words that Trump, the candidate, and now the president uses, were mirrored and embraced by the Russians. Maybe Trump gets his playbook from the Russians or maybe they get their playbook from him, but they clearly worked in tandem.
If unwillingness to impeach for the next two years is what we have to look forward to from our elected officials, it may leave only one remedy for those of us in this country who are appalled by Trump, his policies, his corruption, his followers and the supine GOP that enables him- We the People will have to mobilize and get active to get Trump out of office sooner than 2020. How? By activating as we did for the Blue Wave and getting the message out across the country that we must make our lawmakers do OUR will, not theirs. That means marches, emails and calls, visits to our lawmakers when they are back in town and letters to the editor.
If impeachment is not possible because of political calculations on both sides of the aisle, then he should be indicted if there is strong evidence of a criminal conspiracy with Russia to gain the presidency. That decision would be up to the Grand Jury and Mueller. We would get to learn the facts because they will come out in court. The trial could be seen as a form of presidential incapacitation. There are many instances where a president is unable to run the country for a period of time. Why not treat an indictment and trial as if he is having his gall bladder removed or he has had a heart attack and is on life support? Pence would take over until we get the result of the trial.
How do we just sit back and enjoy the show for the next two years especially if we learn that Trump is in fact, a Russian asset installed as our president by Putin – which I do not think is far fetched?
Count me out. I can’t pretend everything is going to be okay if we know he has committed serious crimes but we are supposed to wait until 2020 to vote him out.
We are not there yet. We have to see what comes out in the next few weeks to months and how our lawmakers react to what is revealed. Mueller’s report is going to be very important to increase erosion of support for Trump which could push Pelosi and GOP Senators to do the right thing (impeachment) especially if his approval ratings continue their downward spiral into the dumper along with the stock market. But if not impeachment, or “The Talk”, then indictment is the right way to deal with a criminal president.
We have a very important role to play. We must stand up and speak out. We must insist that Trump is not above the law. Our voices matter.